Republicans Whine That Obama Is Making Them Look Crazy For Sticking Up To What They Believe In
I was never much on following the blatherings of the NY Times' resident corporate rightist, David Brooks and Ken seems to have been basically ignoring his this year as well. But I could resist a couple of quick comments on his nonsensical column from last Thursday. He starts from the fatally flawed premise that in the best of all worlds, Simpson-Bowles would be our guiding light. He's sad that's not likely to happen. "Polarization," he writes, "is too deep. Special interests are too strong. The negotiators are too rusty. Republicans are not going to give up their vision of a low-tax America. Democrats are not willing to change the current entitlement programs." Instead he'd like Congress to work slowly, incrementally, towards implementing the conservative agenda of wealthy white people like David Brooks. He fears that won't happen either, though, because the Democrats are so mean to the deranged Republicans. Oh, yeah... he knows his party is deranged, even existentially dangerous to the country and mankind. But it's still the Democrats fault. They have a mean, mean strategy-- he's named it "kill the wounded"-- that doesn't save the demented, even psychotic, GOP from itself.
It’s more likely that today’s Democrats are going to tell themselves something like this:For someone with no idea, he makes a good salary and takes up a lot of space in a respectable publication. No one can accuse him of making much sense though. The Republicans are like that because it's what they and their brainwashed base believe in. He may see them as unattached to mainstream thought and, as he puts it, "wackos," but it's hardly the job of Obama and the Democrats to hold their hands and offer them psychotherapy. Whichever sane ones are left should just get out of that crazy party and start a mainstream right-of-center party like the GOP once was, basically what the Democratic Party has become. In fact, the Democrats, with more than enough problems of their own, are in no position to help suicidal Republicans. I don't celebrate when middle-of-the-road Republicans like Floridians Patrick Murphy and Charlie Crist switch parties and drag the Democrats further right. The country needs a party to represent the interests of working families. Now it has half of one, half of one that's slipping away from it's moorings as the GOP sails out into the deep blue. Ezra Klein saw right through it last week when he subbed for Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC:
“We live at a unique moment. Our opponents, the Republicans, are divided, confused and bleeding. This is not the time to allow them to rebuild their reputation with a series of modest accomplishments. This is the time to kick them when they are down, to win back the House and end the current version of the Republican Party.
“First, we change the narrative. The president ran in 2008 against Washington dysfunction, casting blame on both parties. Over the years, he has migrated to a different narrative: The Republicans are crazy. Washington could be working fine, but the Republicans are crazy.
“At every public appearance, the president should double-down on that theme. The Democratic base already believes it. The media is sympathetic. Independents could be persuaded.
“Then, wedge issues. The president should propose no new measures that might unite Republicans, the way health care did in the first term. Instead, he should raise a series of wedge issues meant to divide Southerners from Midwesterners, the Tea Party/Talk Radio base from the less ideological corporate and managerial class.
“He’s already started with a perfectly designed gun control package, inviting a long battle with the N.R.A. over background checks and magazine clips. That will divide the gun lobby from suburbanites. Then he can re-introduce Bush’s comprehensive immigration reform. That will divide the anti-immigration groups from the business groups (conventional wisdom underestimates how hard it is going to be for Republicans to back comprehensive reforms).
“Then he could invite a series of confrontations with Republicans over things like the debt ceiling-- make them look like wackos willing to endanger the entire global economy. Along the way, he could highlight women’s issues, social mobility issues (student loans, community college funding) and pick fights on compassion issues, (hurricane relief)-- promoting any small, popular spending programs that Republicans will oppose.
“Twice a month, Democrats should force Republicans to cast an awful vote: either offend mainstream supporters or risk a primary challenge from the right.”
Just as Senator Mitch McConnell made defeating President Obama his main political objective, Democrats seem likely to make winning back the House their primary political objective. Experts are divided on how plausible this is, but the G.O.P. is unpopular and the opportunity is there.
This isn’t the Washington I want to cover, but it’s the most likely one. How will Republicans respond to this onslaught? I have no idea.